Karoo creeping into KZN from page 1

2015-09-02 06:00
PHOTO: supplied

The Karoo in 1400.

PHOTO: supplied The Karoo in 1400.

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“Over the years a plant census was taken by Acocks, and according to his findings, he established that the Karoo is expanding at a rate of 1,6km per year eastwards. Today the Karoo covers just over one-third of the total surface area of the country as can be seen on map number two. With the spreading of the Karoo as well as the Kalahari desert, the country is facing a crisis in its agricultural output. Only 12.7% of the total size of South Africa is suitable for agricultural production,” Du Plessis said.

Map number three paints a bleak future for South Africa. “The projected growth and spread of the Karoo is now just over two kilometres a year. Interesting the Sahara desert is growing at 400+ acres every hour of the day southwards,” Du Plessis said.

Only a few years ago South Africa was one of only six countries in the world, and the only country in Africa, that was a net exporter of food, today we must import food and even milk from Europe.

“Despite our expertise in the agricultural sector are we now facing a new onslaught from nature and that is climate change. Do we really realise what dry conditions we have in the country? It is unthinkable that a region such as Durban, that normally experiences a sub-tropical climate, can only get a total of one millimetre of rain for an entire month [May 2015],” Du Plessis said.

“One would think that the authorities during these dry conditions would start dredging and clearing the silt from half-empty to virtually empty dams so that when the rains do come these dams can store more water. It’s all about water management skills and conservation. No new dams have been built in the country for the past number of years,” he said.

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